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Does The ‘Why’ Behind Green Initiatives Matter?

Environmental advocates disagree over the prevalence of companies that do good because they feel it’s the right thing to do, rather than a means to increased profits, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. But many feel that a do-right spirit was the case with Ray Anderson, founder and CEO of Interface, a carpet manufacturer who stumbled across “The Ecology of Commerce” by Paul Hawken, a book that bemoaned destructive business methods while offering alternatives.

Anderson says that reading the book became an epiphanal experience. “We changed then to lead ourselves to sustainability and, beyond that, to restorative.”

According to the article, the first step at Interface was reducing waste, which generated financial savings immediately. Now, 13 years after Anderson’s awakening, Interface has declared itself climate-neutral in North America, with a vow to eliminate any negative environmental impact by 2020.

But companies jumping into the green arena today, when reasons are primarily financial and consumers a bit more jaded, face a tougher PR and marketing job. Hank Stewart, Vice President of Green Team, a New York communications agency that primarily shapes green-shaded ad messages for clients, says, “We’re starting to hit a danger point where people are going to get green burnout. We’ve already seen that. You can’t walk into a newsstand without getting hit by a green [magazine] issue on something.”

Read the whole article, which discusses other companies such as Novelis, Ford, Georgia Power and Wal-Mart, here.

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